|U.S. sprinter Marion Jones, a five-time Olympic medalist, failed a drug test at the U.S. national championships in Indianapolis in June, according to sources with knowledge of the test results.|
The results of the test have not been made public because the testing on Jones's urine sample has not been completed, sources said. Only after the second half of her sample -- the B sample -- is tested, would Jones be charged with a doping violation. She would face a two-year ban from track and field.
The substance for which Jones tested positive is erythropoietin (EPO), an endurance-boosting drug, according to a person familiar with the test results. Jones, 30, has been dogged with doping allegations since the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative drug scandal broke in 2003, but she has vehemently maintained her innocence and boasted that she had never failed a drug test.
Since winning five medals at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, her career has stalled. After a miserable season last year in which she was barred from competing at a number of meets in Europe because of the suspicions surrounding her, she returned to action this summer and has won a number of major races.
Should Jones be charged with a doping violation, she would become the third star American athlete to face such charges in the last month. Floyd Landis tested positive for exogenous testosterone after winning the Tour de France. Sprinter Justin Gatlin, a three-time Olympic medalist who shares the world record in the 100 meters, tested positive for a steroid at a track meet in April.
Jones's agent, Charlie Wells, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Attorney Joseph Burton, who represented Jones when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigated her in connection to the BALCO case, also did not return a call.
Jones pulled out of a scheduled appearance at a meet in Friday in Zurich, Switzerland, the Associated Press reported. Jones "received a phone call from the United States this morning and left for personal reasons," Hansjorg Wirz, the meet organizer and head of the European Athletics Association, told AP, adding that she was already on a plane home when she called to withdraw.
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Terry Madden declined comment. Spokesmen for USA Track and Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee also declined comment.
Because the test came out of a U.S. meet, the results would be handled by the USADA.